Gulliver’s Travels – Jonathan Swift
A Voyage to Laputa, Balnibarbi, Luggnagg, Glubbdubrib, and Japan Chapter Summaries
Part III: Chapter 1
Ten days after returning from his previous voyage, Gulliver is confronted by Captain William Robinson to work as his journey to the West Indies. The doubled salary is cause enough for Gulliver to accept the invitation and sets sail two month after the invitation. Upon arriving in Tonquin, Gulliver is appointed Captain of a sloop (a small sailboat with one mast and two sails) and ordered to transport goods; he is shortly captured by pirates. He earns his crews freedom but his attitude lands him on a small boat with limited food. He soon finds a few isles and decides to stay in the cave of a seemingly barren island—except for a few shrub patches. After some keen observation, Gulliver notices something strange obstructing the sunlight and deduces it must be a floating island. He tries to be noticed but the inhabitants seem to give little regard for his shouting. Eventually, the floating mass draws near and from it, descends a seat that Gulliver is instructed to mount. He is then drawn up into the Island. Part III: Chapter 2
Gulliver is welcome by many people, whom he noticed to be very strange. Their eyes look in different directions and their heads do not sit level upon their heads. In addition, he takes note of their attires, which are covered with “celestial bodies and musical instruments.” People also have a servant who follows them and carries a “flapper.” This is essentially a mace, but with a soft sac on the end. The servant’s use it to slap their masters’ mouth or ear with the intent of alerting them that it is their turn to speak or listen while in conversation. After meeting with the King, Gulliver is appointed a language tutor. Shortly after his first lesson, Gulliver notices the island to move over villages, during which, subjects collect monies from the people below. In addition, he learns that the people value mathematics and music above all. (Because of this, their language is primarily based on the sciences stated previously.) Their skill sets are limited to these two disciplines, as well as astrology. There are also in constant fear of an apocalyptic demise, resulting from an ever incumbent meteor. After a months stay, Gulliver is learned enough to speak to the King. Part III: Chapter 3
Gulliver is now informed by the Prince, (one of the few free thinking individuals) of the dimensions and working of the Island. He is most intrigued by the motion of the Island and how it manages to stay afloat. It is explained to him that the most experienced astronomers figured that by mounting and manipulating a great magnet in the center of their island, they are able to float and move in any direction at will. However, the island is only able to move over a specific area on earth because of the specific magnetic forces required to maintain their desired altitude. Gulliver also learns how the Island is able to rule over the inhabitants of the land below. This is done mainly through varying degrees of punishments. Essentially, Laputa uses its size and position to, block out the sun, bombard the villagers, or, simply crush the village by means of ‘dropping’ the island. Gulliver then learns of a rebellious village, with capabilities to ‘capture’ the island and kill the King. In order to maintain peace and save himself, the King has granted freedom to these people. From that instance, the King and his family are restricted from leaving the Isle. Part III: Chapter 4
Gulliver’s boredom leads him to want to leave the Island. He approaches a lord who seems to be genuinely intelligent and curious. (An oddity on Laputa) The lord lacks musical talent and is therefore regarded as unintelligent by the inhabitants. With the help of this lord, Gulliver proceeds in petitioning the King to leave Laputa. The King accepts and proceeds in leaving Gulliver with...
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